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article imageOp-Ed: Obama's landmark 'climate rule' is dead — Thank you Mr. Trump

By Karen Graham     Jun 19, 2019 in Politics
President Trump has thrown his latest lifeline to the ailing coal industry, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama's key policies to address climate change, the Clean Power Plan.
In one of the biggest rollbacks of an Obama-era environmental rule, Trump's EPA director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, on Wednesday signed a final version of its Affordable Clean Energy rule - supposedly to give the coal industry a final chance at making a big comeback.
To hell with pollution or carbon emissions, the new rule is meant to give states more time and authority to decide how to implement the best new technology to ease net emissions from coal-fired plants. Basically, the current administration is saying that the Obama rule actually imposed emissions reductions on each and every state.
The EPA now says that they don't believe it is their role to govern emissions. An EPA official, on a conference call to reporters, said, "The result of the relaxed rule could mean individual coal plants might increase their overall emissions. But, across the board the agency expects emissions to drop."
Sunrise Coal owns and operates an underground coal mine located in Carlisle  Indiana that produces 3...
Sunrise Coal owns and operates an underground coal mine located in Carlisle, Indiana that produces 3 million tons of bituminous coal annually. Approximately 90 percent of our coal is sold to utilities within the state of Indiana.
Sunrise Coal LLC
“We project that at full implementation, emissions from the sector will decrease. It’s possible that some emissions will go up but emissions rate will go down,” the official said. The official also said the EPA will not cap emissions, that's not their job.
"Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a statement, reports The Hill.
In a nutshell, the current administration believes Obama targeted coal plants in his attempt to transition the country to clean energy - an audacious and simple plan that would improve the health of the American people and the environment.
"Obama's rule relied upon generation shifting. It looked at the power sector as a whole, and relied upon the idea that the regulation could effectively force reductions at coal plants,” the official said.
Gina McCarthy, who was EPA administrator during the Obama administration, maintains the rule she helped craft was legal. She criticized the Trump administration's new rule.
Globally  coal use accounts for 40 percent of CO2 emissions  and is on the rise
Globally, coal use accounts for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, and is on the rise
GREG BAKER, AFP/File
"I believe this is the first rule in EPA's history that acknowledges the existential threat of climate change, but by the agency's own admission does absolutely nothing to stop it," McCarthy said in a statement, according to National Public Radio.
There is one problem with the EPA's new rule. It does not take into account that the main reason coal plants are closing now is that they are more expensive to operate than natural gas and renewable energy facilities.
And there is something else that sticks out of all this like a sore thumb. I don't know that anyone else has noticed, but this latest move is another step in Trump's effort to "deregulate" America. Trump's way of doing things makes the EPA ineffective, just as deregulation has made the FDA and other agencies not worth the paper their name is written on.
If Trump has his way, he will lead this country by "executive orders," and "emergency declarations," meaning all our lawmakers might as well go home. Why have a Congress if they can't do anything?
And our government agencies? Surely someone besides myself has noticed disasters and other unusual events are now being handled by the states. The Trump administration has a very narrow view, seeing the EPA as only being able to step in to deal with environmental issues (say, a chemical spill) suffered at an individual plant.
So don't worry about clean air, pollution, clean drinking water or safe bridges and highways. And forget about the climate crisis. Trump is just adding to our woes and before you know it, as long as he continues to lead this country, he is taking us down a road to disaster. So, Thank you, Mr. Trump.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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